Friday, October 5, 2012
I am sure the biggest question floating around Yankee town is who would we rather face, the Texas Rangers or the Baltimore Orioles? It is actually a pretty tough question in my opinion and I am pretty shocked by it. I always tend to rely on stats but I do not think that is going to work this time because the biggest flaw and eye catcher is the difference in run differential. Texas had the 5th best run differential in the majors at +101 3 spots behind the 2nd best Yankees at +136. The Orioles came in with a +7 run differential which is 16th in the league but in the final month they made up for then 50 points in the stat. The head to head match ups are small sample sizes and drawn out through an entire 162 game marathon so they are tough to use as well. In case you were wondering though we were 4-3 against Texas this season and 9-9 against Baltimore with a losing record at home and a winning record in Camden Yards, go figure.
Texas in years past was known for a big offense but never had enough pitching until recently and that was still the case somewhat this season. Matt Harrison had nice stats and 18 wins and I think Yu Darvish exceeded everyone's expectations this season with a solid rookie campaign. The offense, averaging a MLB best 4.99 runs a game led the way once again to the post season. The Yankees were 2nd in the league with 4.96 runs per game. The Orioles were 15th in the league with 4.40 runs per game. The Yankees surprisingly, using team ERA anyway, out pitched both teams with a 12th ranked 3.86 team era this season. Baltimore was 13th with a 3.90 and Texas followed the Yankees and O's with an 18th best 4.02 team ERA.
You know why I brought up all these stats? Me either... This is a new season. All I can base it on, since this game is only in the 3rd inning and tied at 1 each, is my gut. The Orioles find ways to win, they have that shut down bullpen (except for Pedro Strop against us in August and September), they do not lose in extra innings or close games and they have Buck Schowalter at the helm. Buck could manage the Orioles AND the Yankees at the same time and do a better job then Girardi in my opinion. If I had to choose the last team I would want to see is the Orioles in the ALDS to be honest. Do not get me wrong I say bring on any and all challengers because I do not want to hear about an easy walk into the World Series but in a perfect world Id rather open up in Texas then in Baltimore.
The Orioles, very literally for once, actually defy the odds and spit in the face of the stats...
An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted
bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or
first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any
outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for
the purpose of this rule.
When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall
immediately declare “Infield Fly” for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the
baselines, the umpire shall declare “Infield Fly, if Fair.”
That is from the the official Major League Baseball rule book. And by that definition, the call was right. The only thing questionable about the call was whether it was late or not, but that didn't affect the outcome of the call anyway. The runners not only advanced to 2nd and 3rd, but they were allowed to stay there.
Actually, the only way the call was wrong is if you think Cardinal shortstop Pete Kozma did something extraordinary in order to get into position to make that play, and without needing to dive or make an over-the-shoulder catch. That's not how I saw it, as Kozma was there to make the catch, and ran off when he was spooked by something (the ump yelling the call, the left fielder calling him off... I don't know).